The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) on Oct. 1 released its report Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer ( LGBTQ ), and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012.
NCAVP collected data concerning intimate partner violence within LGBTQ and HIV-affected relationships from 19 anti-violence programs in 20 states across the country, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont.
— 21 intimate partner violence ( IPV ) homicides of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people documented; the highest yearly total ever recorded
— Nearly half of IPV homicide victims were gay men
— Transgender people, people of color, gay men and people under 30 most impacted by IPV
— Few LGBTQ IPV survivors access vital services including police, shelter access and orders of protection
In 2012, NCAVP programs received 2,679 reports of intimate partner violence, a decrease of 31.83% from 2011 ( 3,930 reports ). However, three NCAVP member organizations — Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center ( LAGLC ), The Network La Red ( TNLR ), and Sean's Last Wish ( SLW ) — faced significant institutional or programmatic changes or limited staffing capacity that reduced the number of clients they saw, which contributed to the decrease of reports reflected in the report. Excluding data from these three organizations, NCAVP finds a 29.6% increase from 2011 in reports of intimate partner violence ( 1437 in 2011 to 1863 in 2012 ).
Highest IPV homicide rate ever reported to NCAVP
In 2012, NCAVP documented 21 intimate partner violence ( IPV ) homicides, the highest yearly total ever recorded by the coalition. This is an increase from 19 homicides recorded in last year's 2011 report, and more than three times the 6 documented homicides in 2010. For the second year in a row, nearly half ( 47.6% ) of IPV homicide victims were gay identified men. Of the 21 IPV homicide victims in 2012, a majority ( 52.4% ) were people of color with 28.6% of homicide victims identifying a Black/African American, 23.8% identifying as Latin@, 23.8% identifying as white, and 23.8% of homicide victims with unspecified race or ethnicity.
"We are deeply concerned about the record high number of intimate partner violence homicides that occurred this year," said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Program in New York City. "The passage of an LGBTQ-inclusive Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ) last year was a huge step forward, but as we move into the VAWA implementation phase, this report reveals that there is still a lot that needs to be understood about the ways LGBTQ people in this country are affected by IPV."
Most impacted identities
The 2012 report also highlights a number of disturbing trends concerning the severity of violence experienced by LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, especially people of color, transgender people, and LGBTQ and HIV-affected people under the age of 30.
For the second year in a row, people of color made up the majority ( 62.1% ) of intimate partner violence survivors, on par with the 2011 Report's findings ( 66.85% ). "We need more support for programs and services that are focused on LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color survivors of intimate partner violence," said Maria Carolina Morales, Programs Co-Director, at Community United Against Violence in San Francisco. "We need programs that address the ways that IPV intersects with race, as well as with other forms of oppression such as socioeconomic status and immigration status."
The 2012 report found that transgender survivors were two ( 2.0 ) times as likely to face threats/intimidation within violent relationships, and nearly two ( 1.8 ) times more likely to experience harassment within violent relationships. "Transgender people face increased risk of violence because of their gender identity and transphobia within intimate partnerships," said Aaron Eckhardt, Training and Technical Assistance Director at Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization ( BRAVO ) in Columbus. "To really address the needs of transgender survivors, we need to address transphobic laws, policies and institutions while also providing supportive programs that address transgender people explicitly and that engage transgender survivors in preventing this violence."
The 2012 report also found that youth and young adults were close to two times ( 1.8 ) as likely to face anti-LGBTQ bias in IPV tactics as compared to non-youth. "We need more programs and services focused on LGBTQ youth," Rebecca Waggoner, Anti-Violence Program Director, at OutFront Minnesota in Minneapolis. "These findings indicate the need for policymakers and funders to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected anti-violence organizations that conduct intimate partner violence prevention initiatives, and particularly those prevention initiatives that are aimed at youth and young adults."
NCAVP's 2012 report found that while few LGBTQ IPV survivors access vital services including police, shelter access and orders of protection, many of those who did received help.
In 2012, 3.7% of all survivors reported to NCAVP that they sought access to domestic violence shelters. However, of those seeking shelter, only 14.3% were turned away, while 85.7% were admitted to a shelter. This is a dramatic change from the 2011 report where 61.1% of survivors seeking access to shelters were turned away.
In 2012, only 4.9% of total survivors reported to NCAVP that they applied for orders of protection, which reflects an increase from 2011 ( 2.7% ). Of those who reported information related to protective orders, 49% sought orders. Of those 49%, 77% were granted a protective order while 23% were denied one.
In 2012, only 16.5% of all survivors reported information about interacting with the police, an increase from 2011 ( 10.7% ). Of those who did interact, 54.3% of survivors reported the IPV incidents to police, an increase from 2011 ( 45.7% ). However, in nearly 1/3 of the LGBTQ-specific IPV cases reported to the police ( 28.4% ), the survivor was arrested instead of the abusive partner. Further, transgender survivors were over four times ( 4.4 ) more likely to face police violence within the context of an IPV incident than people who did not identify as transgender.
"This year's report findings suggest that when LGBTQ IPV survivors seek vital services, they are receiving them, which is encouraging, said M. E. Quinn, Director of Organizing and Education at The Network/La Red in Boston Massachusetts. "However there is clearly work to be done regarding police misarrest and police violence toward transgender people when responding to IPV incident."
The report includes specific policy recommendations, including the following key recommendations related to the findings highlighted above:
— The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women should swiftly implement the Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ) 2013 to ensure that the law's provisions improve access to services for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are fully implemented.
— All anti-sexual and intimate partner violence service providers, including institutions such as law enforcement, courts, and hospitals, should receive LGBTQ-specific training on screening, assessment and intake.
— Policymakers should support and fund LGBTQ and HIV-affected training and technical assistance programs and resource centers to increase the cultural competency of all victim service providers to effectively work with LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors.
— Policymakers and funders should fund LGBTQ and HIV-affected anti-violence organizations to conduct intimate partner and sexual violence prevention initiatives, particularly prevention programs for youth and young adults.
— Policymakers should ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and HIV-status to protect LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors from economic and financial abuse.
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer ( LGBTQ ), and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of 48 local member programs and affiliate organizations in 25 states, Canada, and Washington DC, who create systemic and social change. We strive to increase power, safety, and resources through data analysis, policy advocacy, education, and technical assistance.
NCAVP is coordinated by the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
The Center on Halsted Anti-Violence project in Chicago is among the regional participants in the project.
See avp.org/about-avp/national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs .